Trouble in the region: Russian military base in Armenia as factor in possible war on Iran

Trouble in the region: Russian military base in Armenia as factor in possible war on Iran

The United States has stepped up sanctions against Iran amid ongoing information preparations for the possible application of force against Iran. Both the Islamic Republic and Russia, which remains a major player in the region, have warned that a military strike against Teheran may entail unpredictable consequences.

But Russia has gone further and, in fact, stated that it will take part in the possible war, because it may affect its vital interests.

Among these ‘vitally interests’ for Russia may also be its military base, which is located in Armenia and which also has the functions of protecting the security of the South Caucasus ally.

The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper published an article on Thursday quoting sources as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.” The paper quotes sources at the military department as saying that the Kremlin has been receiving information about plans for a U.S.-backed Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “The strike will be a sudden one and will happen soon, but the data is unspecified. Tehran’s response is likely to be quick, too, with the possibility of a full-scale war, whose consequences could be unpredictable,” the Russian newspaper writes.

“Military base 102 [situated in Gyumri, Armenia] is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus. It occupies a very important geopolitical position. But the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation,” the periodical adds.

Remarkably, the Russian newspaper suggests a new war is possible between Russia and Georgia. It says that Georgia now blocks the only land transportation route for Russian military cargoes meant for the military base in Armenia, and even fuel now has to be obtained from Iran. “In fact, the Russian-Armenian group in the South Caucasus is already isolated. The war in Iran would mean the cutting of supplies through this channel.”

Russia has also decided to “strike” Azerbaijan, dropping hints that it is from its territory that Israel might attack Iran. On Thursday it was officially stated in Baku that Azerbaijan will not be used as a springboard for an attack on Iran. But military expert Colonel Vladimir Popov thinks that in such a situation Azerbaijan may also solve some of its problems as well.

“If against the background of the war in Iran, Azerbaijan, with the support of Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all the attacks of the enemy aircraft against Armenia will be resisted by Russia together with air defense units of the armed forces of Armenia. It is hard to say whether this will be considered as Moscow’s participation in military operations. Undoubtedly, Russian troops will not participate in hostilities in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. But in the event of a military threat to Armenia, for example, from Turkey or Azerbaijan, Russia is likely to engage in ground battles,” says Popov.